A Better Year Ahead, I Hope

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Jeff Olick

Jefferson Statue

            As I wrote in my previous blog, last semester was a rough one.  The reasons it was so certainly remain.  Nevertheless, one of the great things about academic life is that we get to restart on such a regular basis.  It is a new semester, a new calendar year, and while the slate is far from wiped clean, we get to try again.  

            2015 promises to be an exceptionally exciting one for the sociology department.  First, we’ve got a tremendous slate of visitors coming through, thanks mostly, though not only, to the beginning of The Intimacy Lectures, organized by Allison Pugh.  Sociologists in The Intimacy Lectures series include Eva Illouz (Hebrew U.) on Jan 22, Paula England (NYU) on Feb. 19, and Elizabeth Armstrong (Michigan) on Apr. 23.  Other visitors will include Shamus Khan (Columbia)—whose visit was chosen and organized by the graduate students in the department— on  Feb. 12 and Annette Laureau (Penn) on Apr. 9 (thanks again to Allison Pugh) in conjunction with the Ethnography Workshop.  We are also in the process of concluding two exceptional senior faculty hires, who have accepted our offers and can be publicly announced just as soon as the formal tenure process is completed.  

            Beyond these important events, the exciting work of the department is proceeding on a variety of fronts. We are settling into the lovely Randall Hall, which puts us in the center of things while also centering us as a community; the conversations in the hallways are more frequent and profound than ever, and we hope the circle of participation will continue to grow to include especially more undergraduates in the daily life of the department. We continue to discuss ways to strengthen both our graduate and undergraduate programs, generate collegiality and collaboration within the department and with others, and to lead the College forward with its delicate balance of tradition and innovation.  

            It is an interesting and important time to be a sociologist, or to be in the process of becoming one.  Here’s hoping that 2015 will be a better year than 2014, and a commitment to making it so.